HUNTING is set to resume in the New Forest following a brief suspension caused by an outbreak of equine flu.

The New Forest Hounds (NFH) cancelled two meets after horse racing was halted for almost a week to prevent the disease spreading.

But racing has now resumed - and tomorrow’s trail hunt in the Forest is poised to go ahead.

NFH spokesman Graham Ferris said: “The meets planned for last Saturday and last Tuesday were called off because it wasn’t clear if equine flu would spread rapidly.

“But the racing industry appears to have got the situation under control pretty quickly.

New Forest Post:

“At the moment we’re planning to go tail hunting on Saturday, albeit with some precautionary measures in places. For example, members are being asked to keep a close eye on their horses and not go hunting if they have any doubts.”

Racing resumed yesterday after a six-day shutdown imposed in a bid to prevent the disease spreading.

Four meeting took place after the sport’s governing body, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) gave the go-ahead late on Monday night.

A “risk-managed” return has been authorised by the BHA but new rules mean horses running in races must have been vaccinated within the past six months.

Humans are immune from equine flu but can transmit the virus.

New Forest Post:

As reported in the Daily Echo, visitors to the New Forest have been urged to stay away from the area’s free-roaming ponies and donkeys.

The warning has been issued by the organisation which represents the owners of the area’s iconic animals.

The Commoners’ Defence Association (CDA) fears people approaching, feeding and stroking the ponies could increase the risk of them contracting the disease.

CDA chairman Tony Hockley said: “This is a good opportunity to remind people not to feed the ponies and to keep some distance from the animals.”

Mr Hockley said riders bringing in their horses from outside the Forest created the biggest risk of infection.